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> Practicing In The Context
Bogdan Radovic
post Aug 30 2013, 09:53 AM
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When we practice, we often do it alone in our room. We practice a certain technique, learn a new song or anything really.
What I have noticed some guitar players I know is that there might be a lack of practice "in the context" included as when things start to pile up during recording/improvisation, they might be out of comfort zone.

Let me try to explain : what we usually do is play a single thing, for example practice some funky rhythm guitar or some leads. We usually focus on the "main" stuff we'd play on the guitar, which is fine.

When problems possibly hit : when you need to record a rhythm guitar and then record "another rhythm" guitar which is different in some way then the first one. When you need to play guitar fills in the song you are jamming with your friends etc. Basically, layering guitars and making variations on the go and playing stuff which is non strictly rhythm or lead.

I think this can really hinder the opportunities for gigs, recording and live jamming but it is very simple to fix by incorporating :

* Playing in the musical context whenever you can, using backing track, jamming along the song or with friends
* Practicing non obvious stuff like : alternative rhythm parts played in different positions of the neck using different voicings, playing short fills, making song theme repetitive motives/melodies (lead) which are catchy little sections that usually go in between the verses etc...not really related to actual soloing on the guitar, practicing percussive ambient/fx stuff that you could use in recording to make the song sound more rich and unique.

I think having command over all this can be really rewarding, even if you are not that likely to be using it every day - it does give you a nice new dimension on guitar playing and also composing and sense for "what goes well with what".

IMO - practicing along the backing tracks is the most rewarding practice as you do get great time reference (drums in backing tracks keep tempo and are precise as metronome) + you learn to listen to other elements in band situation and get a sense for keeping time by listening to other instruments in a band. Silly as it sounds - practicing with a metronome and practicing with a drum backing for the same thing can feel different. You do need some time to "learn" how drums beats work and how to play to use them instead of plain metronome.


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Darius Wave
post Aug 30 2013, 12:38 PM
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Very usefull stuff Bogdan. Practicing with music / backing tracks / drum beats is much more pleasant than the raw metronome practice. Also...I would only add that the best way to verify Your skills is recording doubled track of the same part. If You can make two track sound like one guitar than You can say You mastered some lick / phrase etc in 100% smile.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 30 2013, 01:10 PM
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I totally agree with this (even though I don't do enough of it myself) smile.gif

You want to aim to practise as closely to how you will be doing it for real on stage or in the studio. Your practise should ideally mirror your intended use.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 31 2013, 02:24 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Aug 30 2013, 11:38 AM) *
Very usefull stuff Bogdan. Practicing with music / backing tracks / drum beats is much more pleasant than the raw metronome practice. Also...I would only add that the best way to verify Your skills is recording doubled track of the same part. If You can make two track sound like one guitar than You can say You mastered some lick / phrase etc in 100% smile.gif


Good one biggrin.gif Usually with the riffage, you are almost always obliged to do it, but honestly I never recorded a solo or lick as a double. I know exactly what i aim for in my head, but there are some frequencies that open up some time which I can't always get - it's in the touch somehow, you know smile.gif I try to make them happen again and again and the more I try, the more I fail biggrin.gif


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Darius Wave
post Aug 31 2013, 03:22 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 31 2013, 01:24 PM) *
Good one biggrin.gif Usually with the riffage, you are almost always obliged to do it, but honestly I never recorded a solo or lick as a double. I know exactly what i aim for in my head, but there are some frequencies that open up some time which I can't always get - it's in the touch somehow, you know smile.gif I try to make them happen again and again and the more I try, the more I fail biggrin.gif




This is the "dark side of the moon" biggrin.gif I meant mostly practice purposes...like...getting the lick done. Phrasing is to independent matter...many players say they can't repeat what they just played smile.gif


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PosterBoy
post Aug 31 2013, 03:28 PM
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Playing to a backing track is much more rewarding but playing against a metronome really shows up all your flaws which in itself is a great lesson. A backing track provides a lot of information whereas if you practice to a metronome you are responsible for providing the groove and give an indication of changes

Tomo is a master at this



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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 31 2013, 03:31 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Aug 31 2013, 02:28 PM) *
Playing to a backing track is much more rewarding but playing against a metronome really shows up all your flaws which in itself is a great lesson. A backing track provides a lot of information whereas if you practice to a metronome you are responsible for providing the groove and give an indication of changes

Tomo is a master at this



Very well said man - it is usually a great routine, when you practice something with a metronome and then you bring it into a context of the backing track or band rehearsal and you find out that it sounds top notch smile.gif


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klasaine
post Aug 31 2013, 05:46 PM
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That's one of the best reasons to constantly learn new music, other peoples music and other styles.
I personally think every musician should be in a working cover band (top 40, or show band, circus band, church/worship band, cruise ship gig, casino house band, etc.) for 5 years. You're constantly seeing how other players approached songs, ensemble playing, tone, groove, etc. And generally you find that they're using those varied approaches on a lot of the same song forms - similar chords, similar bar structures.

Or, if you can learn tunes fast enough, be a 'freelancer' and play with as many singer/songwriters as possible. You're always playing and you're ALWAYS getting new things under your fingers and into your head. Hell, you might even get paid.

*I have 3 different gigs with 3 different bands coming up in September. One is more of an acoustic gig the other two are rock/pop (but with dif rigs).
It always seems overwhelming when I get those piles of mp3's, youtubelinks and even some charts in my in-box but after methodically starting to work through it I realize ...
1) it's never as daunting as I think.
2) a few tunes have some really cool chord progressions (that I'll steal later for my own use wink.gif
2a) maybe a weird time signature or odd bar structure or an extra two beats somewhere.
3) there's usually one tune that "I always wanted to learn but never got around to it".
4) there's at least one song that has a lick or line that absolutely challenges me technically (not that hard to do as I'm not a shredder).

When I don't have a pile of 'work' to get through I apply the same ethic/method:

I learn new stuff.
Transcribe a lick/line or a solo (any style - and yes I work with the metronome to get it up to speed).
Figure out the chords to a tougher tune - Steely Dan or Keith Jarrett or Yes, Zepplin, Crimson, whatever, etc.
Definitely jam to backing tracks - but I make my own and I try to make the bk trk interesting and musical with good 'parts'. Something that makes me want to play well over it.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Aug 31 2013, 06:01 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 1 2013, 03:41 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Aug 31 2013, 04:46 PM) *
That's one of the best reasons to constantly learn new music, other peoples music and other styles.
I personally think every musician should be in a working cover band (top 40, or show band, circus band, church/worship band, cruise ship gig, casino house band, etc.) for 5 years. You're constantly seeing how other players approached songs, ensemble playing, tone, groove, etc. And generally you find that they're using those varied approaches on a lot of the same song forms - similar chords, similar bar structures.

Or, if you can learn tunes fast enough, be a 'freelancer' and play with as many singer/songwriters as possible. You're always playing and you're ALWAYS getting new things under your fingers and into your head. Hell, you might even get paid.

*I have 3 different gigs with 3 different bands coming up in September. One is more of an acoustic gig the other two are rock/pop (but with dif rigs).
It always seems overwhelming when I get those piles of mp3's, youtubelinks and even some charts in my in-box but after methodically starting to work through it I realize ...
1) it's never as daunting as I think.
2) a few tunes have some really cool chord progressions (that I'll steal later for my own use wink.gif
2a) maybe a weird time signature or odd bar structure or an extra two beats somewhere.
3) there's usually one tune that "I always wanted to learn but never got around to it".
4) there's at least one song that has a lick or line that absolutely challenges me technically (not that hard to do as I'm not a shredder).

When I don't have a pile of 'work' to get through I apply the same ethic/method:

I learn new stuff.
Transcribe a lick/line or a solo (any style - and yes I work with the metronome to get it up to speed).
Figure out the chords to a tougher tune - Steely Dan or Keith Jarrett or Yes, Zepplin, Crimson, whatever, etc.
Definitely jam to backing tracks - but I make my own and I try to make the bk trk interesting and musical with good 'parts'. Something that makes me want to play well over it.


Great thoughts Ken - about the cover bands - I always ran away from them and i will keep running away from them, as I do not like the sort of people and the lifestyle. You may say it's a sacrifice towards my musicianship, but it's just not for me. I find it enjoyable to perform with my projects and try to do a good job without having to play in a coverband. Unfortunately, in here, all the people that play in coverbands are lead around by only one thing - and that's money... they will sacrifice their other musical projects and their personality, up to the point where they forget who they really are and why they even started playing an instrument. It may sound strange or harsh, but unfortunately, this is how a vast majority of people I know, turned out to be. I am not blaming anyone - they have to live, right? but I for one do not want to be a part of that smile.gif


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klasaine
post Sep 1 2013, 05:16 PM
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All good Cosmin.
I can only say that my experience is completely the opposite. Maybe it's regional - ? All the good players in LA, NY, Nashville, etc. play in some type of cover band as well as all their other projects. We think it's fun and instructive.

It doesn't have to be a Top-40 wedding band. It could be an all 70s 'soul' revue or Hip-hop guys do Beatles tunes or Metal guys and gals play the Carpenters (I'm not making any of this up by the way) Dread Zeppelin or the Fab Faux would be the famous examples. Or one of your own bands can have an 'alter-ego' and play a set of all your favorite tunes that you didn't write.

*Another thing we do out here is if it is an actual Top-40 or show thing that books a lot of gigs - most, if not all the main players have one or two (well qualified and rehearsed) 'subs' that fill in when the main guy or gal doesn't want to or can't do it. Also, there's usually (always should be) a book of charts. Same thing with the broadway show 'pit' bands.

It helps my time, it helps my concept, it adds to my lexicon as to what I have available musically in any given situation, it helps me when a producer or engineer or artist mentions another song/band/record/tone that they're referencing a little for their song, etc.

I don't back down on this aspect of music. Playing stuff other than your own stuff is one of the most effective ways to really get better at being a musician. It worked for Beethoven and the Beatles - it can work for you.



This post has been edited by klasaine: Sep 1 2013, 05:21 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Sep 2 2013, 11:56 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 1 2013, 04:16 PM) *
All good Cosmin.
I can only say that my experience is completely the opposite. Maybe it's regional - ? All the good players in LA, NY, Nashville, etc. play in some type of cover band as well as all their other projects. We think it's fun and instructive.

It doesn't have to be a Top-40 wedding band. It could be an all 70s 'soul' revue or Hip-hop guys do Beatles tunes or Metal guys and gals play the Carpenters (I'm not making any of this up by the way) Dread Zeppelin or the Fab Faux would be the famous examples. Or one of your own bands can have an 'alter-ego' and play a set of all your favorite tunes that you didn't write.

*Another thing we do out here is if it is an actual Top-40 or show thing that books a lot of gigs - most, if not all the main players have one or two (well qualified and rehearsed) 'subs' that fill in when the main guy or gal doesn't want to or can't do it. Also, there's usually (always should be) a book of charts. Same thing with the broadway show 'pit' bands.

It helps my time, it helps my concept, it adds to my lexicon as to what I have available musically in any given situation, it helps me when a producer or engineer or artist mentions another song/band/record/tone that they're referencing a little for their song, etc.

I don't back down on this aspect of music. Playing stuff other than your own stuff is one of the most effective ways to really get better at being a musician. It worked for Beethoven and the Beatles - it can work for you.


Oooo - you have a cover band industry system biggrin.gif That's already something organized smile.gif Man, it doesn't sound bad, but as I said, I think it's a mentality/ education thing, which in here, will need much more time before it could even appear as a fact.


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